OCEAN COUNTY – While you’re spending more time outdoors this summer, the Ocean County Health Department is reminding everyone to be wary of the presence of mosquitos and take the proper precautions.
“Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs so the first thing you can do is to ensure your property is free of any items that may hold water. Something as small as a seashell or bottle cap can contain enough water for a mosquito to lay eggs,” says Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.
As we all know, mosquito bites can be quite annoying and very itchy. But even more, they can spread viruses that cause disease and make you sick.
In New Jersey, the most common mosquito-borne diseases are West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. The disease is transferred to mosquitoes when they feed on birds or mammals carrying the disease, which is then spread to people and other animals by the infected mosquitoes.
To protect from the sting of a mosquito bite this summer season, the Ocean County Health Department offers the following advice:
- Eliminate standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys or any other container where mosquitoes can breed.
- Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant trays at least once a week to eliminate potential mosquito habitats.
- Drain temporary pools of water or fill with dirt.
- Make sure windows, doors, and door screens are “bug tight” and there are no holes in the screens.
- Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.
- Replace your outdoor lights with yellow “bug” lights, which tend to attract fewer mosquitoes than ordinary lights. The yellow lights are not repellents, however.
- Use EPA-Registered insect repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely. Do not use on babies under two months. Do not apply on a child’s hands, eyes, mouth or irritated skin.
- Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin. Use mosquito netting over baby carriages and stroller.
“If you do get bit by a mosquito, the best thing to do is wash the area with soap and water. Using a cold compress may help reduce itching and swelling. Calamine lotion or an over the counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itch works well too,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator.